Pretty soon---my guess is no more then 3-4 months, stories will start cropping up on how the Electoral College is an anachronism and should be done away with otherwise neutered.
Others will talk about how it maintains a balance between large and small states, or discourages regionalism. I'm not going to talk about that, although many of those points are perfectly true.
The key virtue of the electoral college is that it limits the ugly consequences of a very close election and that it also serves to compartmentalize fraud.
No matter HOW many people RISE FROM THEIR GRAVES on election day in Chicago, they can only take Illinois.
Can you imagine if you had Florida 2000 style recount shenanigans going on in every state in the country?
Presently, the main reason why fraud is not investigated much in elections is because it rarely changes the outcome---it tends to happen most in areas that are already heavily blue to begin with...that and who..whom of course.
I could easily see a close election without an electoral college touching off a civil war.
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A U.S. civil war was touched off -with- an electoral college, too.
"I could easily see a close election without an electoral college touching off a civil war. "
It's seeming like a possibility that is shifting to a probability, might as well be over an electoral college issue.
The civil war was wasn't because of the perception of a stolen election. The electoral college can't protect the nation from the prospect that an election threatens the existential interests of a segment of the country.
I'd prefer that the fight, should it come, be touched off by a full scale economic collapse than a 'stolen' election. At least then the military will be mostly demobilized when it happens.
While the dust was settling over the 2000 presidential election, a particularly opinionated colleague (all of us have MS or higher in technical fields) who said it just come down to the popular vote. As you recall neither Bush nor Gore got a majority in that election. I asked him what then we should do if no candidate got a majority. At first, this highly educated person did not seem to know the difference between a majority (50%+epsilon) and a plurality. But after straightening out that definition, he seemed to be willing to allow the popular vote winner to be president, no matter how many votes went against him... willing, in other words, to ride that ideological horse all the way to hell. The ignorance was absolutely breathtaking both in its erudition and heartfelt certitude.
IMO, the only way to improve upon the EC would be to allow each state one vote... which would, in fact, happen every time if we didn't have a "Mature Two Party System".
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).
Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that will just be 'spectators' and ignored.
When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.
The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.
In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.
The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.
Anyone concerned about the relative power of big states and small states should realize that the current system shifts power from voters in the small and medium-small states to voters in the current handful of big states.
With National Popular Vote, when every vote counts equally, because states possessing a majority of the electoral votes-- enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), would award all their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC, successful candidates will find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Ohio and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support. Elections wouldn't be about winning states.
Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states. More than 2/3rds of states and voters are ignored.
Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. When and where votes don't matter, candidates ignore those areas and the issues they care about most.
Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE --75%, ID -77%, ME - 77%, MT- 72%, NE - 74%, NH--69%, NE - 72%, NM - 76%, RI - 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT - 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.
In the lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by three jurisdictions.
Of the 22 medium-lowest population states (those with 3,4,5, or 6 electoral votes), only 3 have been battleground states in recent elections-- NH, NM, and NV. These three states contain only 14 (8%) of the 22 medium-lowest population states' total 166 electoral votes.
With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency -- that is, a mere 26% of the nation's votes.
A League of Women Voters study notes that Americans are twice as likely to get hit by lightning as to have their vote canceled out by a fraudulently cast vote.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.
National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.
Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: "To steal the closest popular-vote election in American history, you'd have to steal more than a hundred thousand votes . . .To steal the closest electoral-vote election in American history, you'd have to steal around 500 votes, all in one state. . . .
For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.
Which, I ask you, is an easier mark for vote-stealers, the status quo or N.P.V.[National Popular Vote]? Which offers thieves a better shot at success for a smaller effort?"
The idea that recounts will be likely and messy with National Popular Vote is distracting.
The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.
Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.
The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.
The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.
We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.
The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.
Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.
The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.
No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 56 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.
The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. With both the current system and the National Popular Vote approach, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a "final determination" prior to the meeting of the Electoral College.
You are neglecting the incentive to cheat and cheat bigtime in areas where you basically control everything under a NPV scheme. Electoral fraud is a lot more common than you or the League of Women voters pretend. For a test of such, let's see how many signatures get disqualified on the upcoming Scott Walker recall in Wisconsin. Let's not even get into how much fraud can easily be perpetrated in states like Oregon, where you just mail in your ballot, or the opposition to simple requirements like bringing some form of ID to the polling place.
There is huge incentive under the current system. We've seen just 537 votes in one state decide the presidency in 2000, despite the other candidate having a lead of more than 537,000 popular votes in the country.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state.
With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.
With the current system of electing the President, no state requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state's electoral votes.
Not a single legislative bill has been introduced in any state legislature in recent decades (among the more than 100,000 bills that are introduced in every two-year period by the nation's 7,300 state legislators) proposing to change the existing universal practice of the states to award electoral votes to the candidate who receives a plurality (as opposed to absolute majority) of the votes (statewide or district-wide). There is no evidence of any public sentiment in favor of imposing such a requirement.
Since 1824 there have been 16 presidential elections in which a candidate was elected or reelected without gaining a majority of the popular vote.-- including Lincoln (1860), Wilson (1912, and 1916), Truman (1948), Kennedy (1960), Nixon (1968), and Clinton (1992 and 1996).
And, FYI, with the current system, it could only take winning a plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency -- that is, a mere 26% of the nation's votes.
Battleground states are just that, battlegrounds. Both sides can reasonably be expected to keep the fraud of the other within reasonable bounds---neither has an overwhelming lock on the state and local law enforcement, for instance. In solid states on the other hand that would not be the case.
toto, quit spamming this left wing bullshit
Toto, you type to me as if I cared whether a candidate for president ever got a pure majority of the popular vote--only true believers in Democracy, like my opinionated "moderate" friend, would ever have such a care--and one which I must point out could not be guaranteed by the NPV... especially as it *would* signal the end of the "Mature Two Party System" in presidential politics and thus eventually guarantee only a small plurality of popular votes to the winner... which would, if the pattern holds, kick off several years of ethnic or credal or ideological cleansing, at which point democracy will have run its natural course.
I would much prefer a system where each state legislature alone decided which presidential electors to send to the Electoral College, which is mostly what we had for the first few decades. Please understand that I want to *remove* "popular" participation from politics as much as possible. The EC does that today a tiny bit. But it could be made to do more...
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